Tom: I pulled him.
Harold: You what?
Tom: He’s not reliable.
Harold: The great Peter Salter not reliable??
Tom: It was the way he said… “Obedience to the State”
Harold: What way?
Tom: Like a believer.
–From Season 1 Episode 4 of SPOOKS
SPOOKS was one of the wave of anti-terrorist shows that proliferated in the wake of September 2001.
And to a man, I had no interest in those shows then, and less so now. For the most part they were then, and are now the worst type of jingoism.
Very lowest common denominator, circle the wagons, storytelling.
However, SPOOKS offers something a bit more complex. The distance of the pond, the distance from America, offering a more mature level of storytelling that shows like THE UNIT or NCIS. or any variety of CIS or LAW & ORDERS, can’t touch.
That said the first episode was okay, but didn’t wow me. I wasn’t crazy about the casting or the general feel, so had definite doubts, a B- episode.
But with episode 2, I became a believer. As that episode, showed with decisiveness, this was a show that was taking no prisoners. One of the best episodes of Season 1. A-.
Episode 3- Sees a Turkish Embassy held hostage. Well done episode. B.
Episode 4- The team looks to crack down on any demonstrations during Bush’s visit. An episode that could have been awful, made strong because the strength of the show isn’t in the specifics of the case, but in the lives of those who must walk the line. B+.
Episode 5- A meandering episode, the main story never manages to quite captivate, about illegal arms dealing. However, The interesting part is the side stories, as both the Zoe and Danny storyline (my favorite part of the whole episode), and the Tom storyline take sharp turns to compelling and save this episode from a lower grade. B+.
Episode 6- Is where a lot of plot threads come together an excellent episode, about MI5 caught between two enemies, the old and the new, with a fantastic ending. B+.
Episode 7- The night of the long knives continues, as in the wake of last episodes insanity, the stakes get raised even more. An amazingly packed, dense episode that feels like a 2hr season ending movie, rather than just the standard episode. Very good. B+.
Episode 8- MI5 must find and stop angels. A nest of angels. The threat of suicide bombers in the heart of London. Man that was harsh. In previous episodes Tom has been through a lot, and this continues his… “long day’s night”. Great episode. B+.